BAGHDAD – Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki’s Shiite Muslim coalition won a majority in national elections and will form the next government in OPEC’s No. 2 oil producer, according to a lawmaker from the alliance.
The National Alliance, including Al-Maliki’s State of Law parliamentary bloc, won more than 170 of parliament’s 328 seats in the April 30 balloting, lawmaker Khalid Al-Asadi said. State of Law has chosen Al-Maliki to remain as prime minister in the new government, he said.
“The National Alliance has definitely won a majority, more than 170 seats out of parliament’s 328 seats, and that allows us to form the next government,” Al-Asadi said. “We have no intention to change or replace Nouri al-Maliki.”
The New York Times reported that Al-Maliki and his coalition won 93 seats in Iraq’s 328-seat Parliament, more than three times as many as the second-place group.
The military reinforced its presence across Baghdad ahead of an official announcement, and state-sponsored Iraqiya TV reported that motorcycles and carts were banned from the capital’s streets as a precautionary measure. Violence has surged in Iraq, and troops from Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government are battling fighters from Al-Qaida and allied Sunni Muslim forces in the west of the country.
Al-Maliki, 63, is seeking a third term in the nation of 33 million people, which he has governed since 2006. The new parliament will choose a president to replace Jalal Talabani, who has been receiving medical treatment in Germany since suffering a stroke in 2012.
The sectarian violence his government curbed in 2008 has flared again, aggravated by the civil war in neighboring Syria. A total of 3,015 civilians were killed in the first three months of this year, according to the unofficial Iraq Body Count website, more than triple from a year earlier.
Political tussling has also deepened, as Al-Maliki’s relations with the Sunnis and the country’s ethnic Kurds in the north have become more strained.